Thursday, 15 September 2022

TCN Split Winter Tourist Roundtable: KLM from Amsterdam 12 Months a Year!

September 14, 2022 - A massive boost for Split winter tourism, as KLM announces 12-month flights between Amsterdam and Split. And there's more... 

It is 9 months almost to the day since the first TCN Split Winter Tourism Roundtable, hosted by Chops Grill, which brought together the key tourism stakeholders in Dalmatia from the public and private sector. You can read more about that initial meetting (and excellent lunch) here.

There was a lot of scepticism going into the meeting, with few participants expecting concrete results, but that initial meeting - expertly moderated by Michael Freer - was one of the most positive business experiences I have had in my time in Croatia.

And the results - direct and indirect - are starting to show. How about this for some excellent news for those looking for connectivity to Dalmatia in winter? I heard the news a few days ago, but this has now been officially confirmed by the excellent Croatian Aviation

KLM Royal Dutch Airlines will continue to operate between Amsterdam and Split in the upcoming winter flight schedule! Namely, since the beginning of the global pandemic, the company operated to Split exclusively around Christmas and New Year (6-12 rotations per year), but the airline has now announced regular flights between the two mentioned cities from the beginning to the end of the winter flight schedule (end of October - end March).

In the summer season, KLM flies up to 3 times a day between the two cities, which is not surprising when there is extremely high demand for the second largest Croatian city in the peak of the summer tourist season.

The company is extremely satisfied with the results achieved on the Croatian market, several winter flights in recent years have recorded excellent occupancy, so this winter the airline will convert its route from seasonal to year-round. This is important news for the Split airport, which in the winter flight schedule has only a few airlines and a smaller number of international lines, which will enable passengers to and from Split to significantly increase the possibility of travel and connectivity via Amsterdam to numerous other destinations in Europe and the world.

In addition to local passengers from Split, the line is also important for winter tourism in the city and its surroundings, as well as for business people traveling to and from Split throughout the year.

Winter flights between Split and Amsterdam will be operated by KLM's daughter company, KLM Cityhopper, and E295 aircraft with a capacity of 132 passengers have been announced on the route. It is to be expected that the airline will, if necessary, adjust the type of aircraft on the route in accordance with demand, so smaller E90 and E70 type Embraers are also possible in Split this winter.

Regular flights between the two cities will take place from the end of October to the end of March next year as many as seven times a week, that is, daily, which will allow passengers complete flexibility in planning their trips.

This is KLM's second destination in Croatia, to which the Dutch airline will also operate in the winter flight schedule. In addition to Split, KLM operates to Zagreb International Airport in the winter, twice a day in both the winter and summer flight schedules.

Without giving too much away, talks are also ongoing with a major budget airline to bring in up to 80 flights over the winter 2023 season from thee European capitals. The price is reasonable, the hotels are happy to contribute, and I for one am quietly optimistic that there could be some even more good news to announce in the coming months. 

TCN will bring you more news on this as we get it.


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Tuesday, 1 March 2022

2nd Split Winter Tourism Round Table Held at HGK: 5 Key Takeaways

March 1, 2022 - The second Split winter tourism round table was held on Tuesday, March 1 at the Croatian Chamber of Commerce - Split County Chamber (HGK), with Mayor Ivica Puljak and representatives of the Split and Split-Dalmatia County tourist boards. 

After the successful first round table on Split winter tourism in December, the initiative to extend the tourist season received the first concrete vision at today's second meeting. Organized by the Croatian Chamber of Commerce - Split County Chamber and Total Croatia News, the Chamber of Tourism gathered in Split and presented four programs that can strengthen the offer in the postseason and create a base for continuing flights to Split Airport after October.

Mayor Ivica Puljak reiterated his support for this initiative on this occasion as well.

"Split is a city that is increasingly extending the tourist season, and it will continue to be extended because there is great potential for tourism to stretch throughout the whole year. However, we want that tourism to be sustainable, not to endanger the quality of life of citizens. Therefore, it is up to us, the City, to build infrastructure that can enable tourism to develop well," said the mayor, expressing satisfaction with all projects and joint partnership as a good and proper way to develop Split tourism further.


President of the Croatian Chamber of Commerce - Split County Chamber Joze Tomaš also emphasized the potential of developing 365 tourism in Split.

"The trend of introducing a four-day working week, present in a growing number of companies in the world, extends the weekend to three days, which with good connections, airlines and everything else, opens additional opportunities for Split," said Tomaš, emphasizing that we still have a lot of work to do on continuing the current events as well as launching new content. 

"The Split Winter Tourism initiative was launched due to the problems that caterers and hoteliers face after the cut that occurs in mid-October. Talking about winter tourism in Split and extending the season, we detected that it is necessary to bridge the period from the end of October to the beginning of Advent, i.e., the month of November, " said Jasmina Kruščić on behalf of the initiative.


A quality introduction to the topic was provided by statistical data on Split tourist arrivals and the season in general. In addition to the excellent preconditions that Split has as a year-round destination, one of the biggest obstacles is air connections with the rest of Europe, which lack in the winter months. Hence, the initiative aims to increase the percentage of air arrivals.

Programs that would strengthen the offer are based on Split's digital-cultural and eno-gastronomic promotion and were presented by private sector stakeholders. These are the Split Light Festival, Gastronomy Month (working title Split on a Plate), Digital Nomads, and Winter Sailing.

Split Light Festival would include the lighting of public spaces and monuments and 3D mapping in the form of a trial four-day festival of light and music that would promote the city's creative industry and cultural heritage. The gastronomic offer of Split has been a critical tourist product for many years, and this year October would be marked as the month of gastronomy, during which Split restaurants would place special offers for locals and tourists. Digital nomads, for whom Split is a desirable destination with an average of 900 visitors a month, are also a niche with a huge space for growth and whose benefits were presented at the meeting. In the segment of nautical tourism, winter sailing was introduced, an offer that is sufficiently developed in the rest of the world and is a logical sequence in the Split postseason. The classic charter offer or sailing school for foreigners during city break stays will surely strengthen this sector toward sustainable development.

In the discussion that followed, which was attended by representatives of the tourist boards of Split and Split-Dalmatia County, Split Faculty of Economics, and the private sector, the presented solutions were discussed, with other offers and defined optimal dates.


All participants agree that Split has enough offseason perks, based on which it can seek better connections with the rest of the world, and that there is a need to work together with all stakeholders, who can only bring change together. It was also emphasized that it is necessary to work more on the domestic tourism component and nearby markets and extend the season step by step, i.e., with flights a week or two earlier and end a week or two later, and gradually expand the circle. To move in that direction, it was concluded that a Business and Tourist Council would be established at the Croatian Chamber of Commerce - Split County Chamber, which will actively work on implementing this offer and other quality initiatives for some of them to come to life as early as 2022, or to be fully ready in 2023.

Five key takeaways from the Initiative organizers

1. Further analysis should be done with the Private & Public sectors and the Split Airport to determine what our focus should be in the future regarding flights, including the best dates.
2. After seeing the Split Airport statistics, we all agreed we need to flatten the curve of flight seasonality and that both the public and private sectors need to work together in creating a strategy on how to achieve that.
3. Restructuring the budget so that the initiatives that are put forward for building the offseason months should have precedence for future competitions.
4. The public sector supports these initiatives but funding may prove to be an issue. The Split-Dalmatia County Tourist Board competition for funding is now live.
5. Lack of communication between the Private & Public sectors continues to be one of the main issues. How will we move forward to ensure that communication improves. A decision was taken to form a sub-committee of public-private partnership, including the city, tourist board, Chamber of Economy and private sector tourism providers to move things forward. 

Source: HGK

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